01 Dec Industry Spotlight: Bob Eakin CEO, JCAP Private Lending
Bob is a seasoned Senior Executive, C-Suite Officer, and Consultant with 30 years of success in finance and lending. Leveraging extensive experience in strategic planning and operational management, he is a valuable asset for startup to mid-size companies looking for acumen in a rate sensitive environment, contraction/expansion in mortgage origination, growth scaling and navigation, marketing, and staffing. His broad areas of expertise include residential mortgage lending, loan origination, investment portfolio management, insurance, compliance, underwriting, team building and development.
In his executive career, Bob has held leadership positions as CEO at Jayco Premium Finance of California (dba JCAP Financial Group); CEO at Jayco Capital Group; and V.P. Loan Origination at Karma Mortgage (dba Mark 1 Mortgage of Orange County). He is rated in the U.S. top 50 of mortgage lenders in both origination volume and number of loans closed, funding over $1B in home loans. Currently, he specializes in investor funded bridge financing for residential and commercial Real Estate. He originates loans for listed properties, foreign borrowers, corporations, stated income, low FICO, and construction.
Bob obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Political Science at UC Irvine. He has served on local boards and advisory councils, including Seven Day Hero and Star Rock Ministries.
Originate Report: What makes you stand out from other private lenders in the area?
Bob Eakin: Years of experience. I have lived in Orange County since 1982 with a long resume of success. Not only am I the operator of our business, I also invest my own money into our loans.
OR: How did you get into this business?
BE: I did a summer internship my junior year of college with an alumni in my fraternity, Kappa Sigma. I loved the mortgage business immediately. Helping people with their biggest personal financial component, solving for the best financial solution, and serving people was the perfect combination.
OR: How has JCAP Private Lending been able to stay in business for this long?
BE: We are conservative. We work hard at caring for everyone involved including the borrower, the investor, our team at the company and our community.
OR: How have you seen this industry change since you started out?
BE: When I first started at a bank in 1990, all they talked about was that we were about to be paperless. I watched bank applications go from about three pages to what felt like a novel and loan docs went from a small stack to what looked liked several reams of paper. Now, after three decades, we are actually close to paperless. It’s been neat to watch technology truly advance and simplify our business.
OR: What is the most popular loan you write?
BE: The short-term residential loan. Our average client has an unintended consequence that requires access to some of their equity. Once they correct their situation, we get paid off by a traditional bank loan or they sell the property.
OR: What skills do you think have helped you become successful?
BE: I have big ears (laughing). I’m a good listener and problem solver. If you have equity, we can usually help you solve your problem.
OR: What advice would you give to someone just starting out in this business?
BE: The most successful people in our space work tirelessly to care for people. My advice would be to work hard letting people know that you are here and don’t just look at the money. If you are working hard for the borrower, the money will follow.
OR: What is the future of private lending? How is the market changing?
BE: The tightening at banks has improved the market for private lending, which is now a $68 billion industry. My best guess is that as banks loosen (and as hell freezes over), our sector will soften. However, there has always been a need for short-term financing when it comes to foreign nationals, builders, heirs to properties, and small business owners. We can help these people when the banks can’t.
OR: What are the biggest challenges with private lending?
BE: There is a lot of liquidity in this country. The rich really did get richer through this last cycle. Lots of money in a space loosens underwriting guidelines causing companies to make riskier loans and we do not like loan defaults. We are best at being lenders, not property owners.
OR: Why do you think it’s so important for businesses to serve the community and those less fortunate?
BE: A business is really a living organism, just like a person. We have the same responsibility to be citizens of our world and if you are going to be a citizen, why not be a good one? It is better to give than to receive and selfishly, my heart is full when I am giving. As the leader of our organization, I am privileged to be our commander of giving, allowing me and our team to all experience that gift.
OR: If this industry didn’t exist, what career path would you have taken?
BE: I am sure that I would be in business. I feel called to lead, to give, and to serve. The day-to-day product just happens to be lending.
OR: What advice do you have for loan officers trying to close loans with you?
BE: If the borrower has equity over one or more properties, there is probably a deal there. Think creatively… how do I solve the borrower’s problem? We are here to team up with brokers to solve borrowers’ short-term financing needs. We love to fund loans quickly and are easy to work with.
OR: How is your company reacting to changes in the marketplace?
BE: There is a tendency in lending to try to be the cheapest…this is a losing battle for you and the industry. We focus on being professional problem solvers; spending little time on price…our compelling story is experience and speed. Price wars kill everyone’s profits and eventually kill the industry.
OR: What CRM systems do you use to email your target market?
BE: Mail Chimp…. they are all good.
OR: Have you had to learn any lessons the hard way?
BE: Don’t work with anyone and everyone. Be selective. Work with like-minded people that you enjoy working with. When I was building our A-paper mortgage bank (so glad to be out of that space), I thought that the more people we worked with, the better. Sure, it looked great on paper but I was totally wrong. It turns out that even if you try to always be honest and keep your word, it doesn’t mean that everyone else does. Some people really are selfish and self-serving. My new mantra is trust and verify!